Monday, September 3, 2007

Yes But...

- author unknown

Years ago I worked on some writing projects with a wise old psychiatrist named Smiley Blanton. One day I was complaining bitterly about an important book assignment that had fallen through. "Well, I can't solve that problem for you," Smiley said. "But I can give you a little homemade antidote for disappointment that you might find helpful."

He went on to say that as a small boy growing up in Tennessee he had a favorite aunt he went to whenever he needed solace. "Almost always Aunt Eliza's response began with just 2 words: 'Yes, but...' She had a wonderful way of making me look past the unpleasant moment to some compensation that might be arranged. 'Yes,' she'd say, 'our picnic has been rained out. But this afternoon we can go to the movies.' I always sought out Aunt Eliza when I was feeling depressed and always came away feeling happy.

"That 'yes, but' phrase is a powerful attitude-changer." Smiley said. "Yes, the loss of your book assignment is painful. But there will be others, some of them more rewarding, perhaps, than the one you've lost. You'll be a lot better off if you shift your focus from past disappointments to future possibilities."

He was right; life presents all of us with endless "yes, but" scenarios. And today when I use the "yes, but" therapy on myself I give thanks to Smiley's Aunt Eliza. Yes, she's gone now...but her philosophy remains a blessing.

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